The first two T20s between the neighbouring countries were nail-biting encounters as the match went on till the final over on both occasions. India emerged victorious in the first game whereas Sri Lanka made a comeback in the second.
Dasun Shanaka has been the man for Sri Lanka and the same will be expected from him in the decisive match.
Axar Patel’s blistering knock with the bat and economical spell with the ball is a positive India can take forward.
Both the teams would be eyeing a win in the final encounter to seal the series 2-1.
When: 19:00 IST, 7th January 2023.
Where: Rajkot, Gujarat
Streaming Platforms: Star Sports Network and Disney+Hotstar app and website
A Hardik Pandya-led Indian side showed a great display of grit in the second encounter after being 5 down for 57. However, the absence of the veterans can be felt, especially that of Jasprit Bumrah, as the bowling unit has failed to impress.
A few positives would be Debutant Shivam Mavi who impressed in the first game and Umran Malik who was also decent in both games.
The Top order also needs to step up and take the responsibility on their shoulders to seal the series for the team. Both the openers have failed to impress in the first two games and the onus is on them to turn things in their favour.
The Island nation has impressed cricket fans around the world. The fight shown by the Lankan players in both games suggests that Sri Lanka can not be taken lightly. Not to forget, Sri Lanka also won the Asia cup earlier this year, having defeated both India and Pakistan in the campaign.
Skipper Dasun Shanaka has been outstanding on both occasions. He has also adjudged the Man of the match in the second encounter for his tremendous knock in the death overs.
Kasun Rajitha also bowled a lethal spell in the second T20I, having picked up 2 wickets for just 22 runs in 4 overs.
Sri Lanka would look forward to giving their best and coming out on top by defeating a young Indian side in the final encounter.
A total of four T20I matches have been played at the venue. The average first-inning total here is 180, quite suggestive of the fact that this is one of the flattest tracks in India. The pitch offers little help to the bowlers.
The outfield is very fast and the boundaries are short. The batters would look to take full advantage and post a good total.
Both the chasing team and defending team have won 2 matches each out of the four that have been played in Rajkot.
Probable Playing XI
India: Ishan Kishan (WK), Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav, Rahul Tripathi, Hardik Pandya, Deepak Hooda, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel / Arshdeep Singh, Shivam Mavi, Umran Malik, Yuzvendra Chahal
Sri Lanka: Kusal Mendis(WK), Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka(C), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha, Dilshan Madushanka
Players to Watch Out For
Wanindu Hasaranga: The leggie had a forgettable second T20I as he was smacked for 26 runs in an over, comprising a hat-trick of sixes. However, Sri Lanka would expect a comeback from him as he’s been the main man for them on several occasions for quite some time now. The No. 1 T20I bowler in the world will have to take things into his own hands if Sri Lanka has to win the match and the series.
Hardik Pandya: If Hardik bats well, India sleeps well. The all-around performances of skipper Hardik Pandya have provided India with the balance that is the most important for winning games. India would be expecting another great display from him with the bat and the ball. Hardik is currently placed at No.3 in the Icc All-rounders ranking in the format.
Dasun Shanaka: Shanaka has been all over the media after his incredible performances in the first two games. A finisher like Shanaka is an invaluable asset to any side in the world. The skipper would leave no stone unturned to win the final match and add a feather to his cap as the Sri Lankan captain.
IND vs SL 3rd T20i Fantasy Team
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We expect the Indian side to make a comeback and win the series 2-1.
Wanindu Hasaranga and Suryakumar Yadav can be the player of the match for their respective sides.